National Security Law Today Podcast Features Steven Pelak on Bringing Terrorism to Trial

Holland & Hart partner Steven Pelak appeared as a guest on the National Security Law Today Podcast from the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security. In the first of a two-part podcast series that aired Dec. 21, Pelak discusses how the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act has allowed private litigation to be used as a deterrent against state sponsored terrorism.

In the first episode, Pelak traces the history of the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, the exception allowing civil actions against designated state sponsors of international terrorism, and describes how individuals have used the courts to obtain judgments and recover damages. Pelak explains the development of diplomatic and sovereign immunity laws in the 19th century and how the recent legislative changes were spurred by terrorist events from the Iran hostage crisis to the PanAm Lockerbie bombing to 9/11.

The second episode that aired on Dec. 28 continued the discussion with further updates on recent activity in the realm of sovereignty immunity. Pelak provides background information and details regarding the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Act (34 U.S.C. § 20144), and pragmatic advice on practice and legal writing for young lawyers.

Steve Pelak practices in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office and focuses his practice on civil and criminal enforcement proceedings and internal investigations. Pelak has significant experience as a federal prosecutor and in private practice handling and supervising the investigation and prosecution of export control, embargo, fraud, bribery, public corruption, immigration, labor union corruption, terrorism, and other white collar and violent crimes. Pelak served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington D.C. for 18 years and 6 years as the Justice Department’s National Coordinator for Export Controls and Economic Sanctions and the Principal Deputy Chief and then Acting Chief of the Counterespionage Section within the National Security Division of the Justice Department. As one of the chief advocates for victims’ rights and the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Act, Pelak also counsels individuals and corporations how to seek compensation against state sponsors and seek relief from the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund.

The full interview is available at NSL Today.

About Holland & Hart

Holland & Hart is a full-service law firm that today has approximately 500 lawyers across eight states and in Washington, D.C. delivering integrated legal solutions to regional, national, and international clients of all sizes in a diverse range of industries. For more information, visit www.hollandhart.com or on Twitter: @HollandHart.


Unless you are a current client of Holland & Hart LLP, please do not send any confidential information by email. If you are not a current client and send an email to an individual at Holland & Hart LLP, you acknowledge that we have no obligation to maintain the confidentiality of any information you submit to us, unless we have already agreed to represent you or we later agree to do so. Thus, we may represent a party adverse to you, even if the information you submit to us could be used against you in a matter, and even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us.